The people want education money spent on counseling, advising

A follow-up survey is open now to see how the public would divvy up dollars for education.

OLYMPIA — More than 30,000 people around Washington weighed in, and they said that mental health resources should be among the top priorities for school funding.

This past spring, the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction organized a survey to learn about the public’s priorities for schools.

The survey presented 15 options such as reducing class sizes, adding technology and expanding early learning. It asked people to rank how important each was to them.

“Student support services,” defined as counseling, advising and mental health, solidly took first place, according to the results.

School safety improvements, better buildings, incentives to recruit and keep teachers, and more technical and work-based learning opportunities also ranked high.

The lowest ranked suggestion was having chances for students to learn a second language as young as kindergarten.

Two-thirds of survey respondents said they work in K-12 education. Nearly 13,400 of them were teachers.

Now, a second survey is open to see how the public would divvy up tax dollars for education. Participants are asked how they would spend $500 million among the top priorities decided by the first survey. The survey is available in English and Spanish, and other languages by request. It closes at 5 p.m. Sept. 12.

The plan is to use the results to help draft budget requests to be submitted to Gov. Jay Inslee later this month, according to OSPI. The requests would include expenses that are not fully covered by the state dollars lawmakers have pledged for basic education.

Local district leaders previously shared concerns that the state’s definition of basic education does not cover all of the necessities. In discussions about levy requests earlier this year, multiple districts noted that they use local levy dollars to pay for full-time counselors at schools.

“These results have made it even more clear how important it is for our schools to be able to address the mental health needs of our students,” state Superintendent Chris Reykdal said in a news release.

Reykdal noted the loss of students to suicide as one reason more resources are essential.

“We must do everything we can to equip our schools with the tools they need to fight this mental health crisis,” he said.

Regional responses to the first survey — from Olympia up to Bellingham — show that locals ranked student support as their highest priority, matching statewide input.

However, locals differed from statewide results in that they were more worried about reducing class sizes than about financial incentives for teachers. They also felt more strongly that school funding should go toward programs to support students with disabilities and address racial disparities.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

Take the Survey

To share how you would spend education dollars, go to www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4444971/Balance-the-K-12-Education-Budget.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record
Freeland resident Kevin Lungren has been commuting to the office using his paddleboard. It's a commute he can do in all seasons and just about any type of weather, except wind.
Whidbey commuter paddleboards his way to work in all seasons

The financial advisor says he’s only fallen off his board twice in the past five years.

Photo by Heather Mayhugh
Stuart Peeples demonstrates how to enter Heather Mayhugh's wheelchair van. In recent months, while navigating the new Mukilteo ferry terminal, Mayhugh has struggled to unload her clients who need access to the restroom.
People with mobility issues find new ferry terminal lacking

Some disabled folks say not enough thought went into improving the Mukilteo facility’s accessibility.

Temporary Lake Stevens Library to open this summer

The location will serve as the Sno-Isle branch until the proposed civic center campus is complete.

$500,000 available for Edmonds nonprofits

Organizations can apply for Edmonds Rescue Plan funds until Aug. 20.

Parts of Snohomish County under weekend heat advisory

Monroe and areas of the county near the Cascades were expected to see highs in the 90s.

Marysville man wins $100,000 in military vaccine lottery

Carmen S., who served in the Vietnam War, claimed his $100,000 cash prize this week.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
State AG says it can’t investigate Lynnwood Jail death

Tirhas Tesfatsion’s family pushed Lynnwood leaders for an independent inquiry. Her death was ruled a suicide.

JaNeen Aagaard donates blood at Bloodworks NW Friday afternoon in Everett at July 30, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Blood shortage strains local agencies, hospitals

Some blood types have reached critically low levels, and blood collection agencies are pleading for donations.

COVID-19 case reported at crowded Lynnwood council meeting

A person who attended the Monday meeting tested positive for the coronavirus just days later.

Most Read